Blackmon Safe at Home After Battle With Covid, Ready for the NL West Challenge

Tracy Ringolsby

Charlie Blackmon was finally in uniform on Monday, working out with the rest of the Rockies for the first time since Summer Camp opened. Seems Blackmon had a little battle with COVID that kept him sidelined, but did not get him down -- mentally or physically.

Oh, he's a bit behind in terms of conditioning, but Rockies manager Bud Black isn't ruling out Blackmon being in the lineup when the Rockies open baseball's abbreviated season at Texas on July 24. The addition of the DH to the NL game plan for at least this season creates an option if Blackmon isn't quite up to the demands in the field.

"Knowing Charlie and his commitment to his profession, he's been doing what he feels he needs to do to be ready for (Monday) and ready for July 24," Black said. "Overall, I'm optimistic. I mean, we're going to work and watch him each and every day to see where he is and how he's doing."

Blackmon is a key part of the Rockies lineup, both as a top-of-the-lineup bat and as a solid right fielder, the position he assumed a year ago after being the Rockies starting center fielder previously.

"I feel great," he said. "I have felt that way for at least a couple weeks. I had a day and a half of symptoms, and then I started feeling much better. And suddenly, I want to be ready for Opening Day. That's a pretty short period of time to get ready for Major League baseball, so I'll do my best. That's a goal."

Blackmon said he and his wife had been trying to be careful back home in the Atlanta area, and he does not know what led to him being hit by the virus. He seemed comfortable with where he is now.

"My symptoms were what I would consider mild flu symptoms," said Blackmon. "I had a headache, which was the most prominent thing. I had a bit of a cough and then I had some body aches. I felt sick, but it only lasted 36 hours. 

"I would consider it mild compared to the flu. I had the flu a couple years ago and I thought that was going to wipe me out. I'm lucky that my COVID experience was not nearly as severe."

Blackmon knows COVID has created a major upheaval in the American lifestyle, and said he is extremely cautious because he does not want to do anything that could impact his teammates. He, however, isn't overly concerned about himself. 

"Honestly, I feel like I'm the least at-risk person in the building right now," he said. "I've gotten over the virus and have the antibodies. I am healthy and don't expect to be a risk. I don't expect to be risking other people's health."

He admitted the challenge will be an honest evaluation of whether he is ready for the season. Blackmon is a guy focused on playing every inning of every game. He doesn't sit well, but he knows there might not be a choice on that matter initially.

"It is going to be tough," he admitted when asked how hard it would be to honestly evaluate his condition for Opening Day. "It's not something I've done before, but I do think I'm well positioned to know a lot about my body and what I need to do to get ready to play. ... I think I'm going to be fine. I would much rather have gotten sick when I did rather than now or in mid-season.

"I'm looking at it as more of a positive, that I got it out of the way, and I don't have to worry about it for the rest of the summer."

What he does know is he is going to play -- which was his focus all along.

"Never," he said when asked if he considered passing on the season. "I intend to follow the protocols, like everybody else, assuming that I'm at risk just as much as everybody else. ... The literature I've read suggests that people who experience symptoms like I did, will have a stronger antibody response than someone who is asymptomatic."

Blackmon has conquered COVID.

Now, he wants to help his teammates conquer the NL West.

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